IT firms lead mega project at UK Ministry of Defence

20 August 2015 Consultancy.uk

The UK Ministry of Defence has selected a consortium of IT firms, operating under the name of ATLAS, to transform the Defence Information Infrastructure. As part of the four year deal, the consortium will convert the hundreds of old IT systems into one single network based on HP technology, which will allow users access to information when and where they want.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) is a ministerial department tasked with the protection of the security, independence and interests of the UK at home and abroad. The MOD, which is supported by 30 agencies and public bodies, aims at ensuring that the UK armed forces have the training, equipment and support necessary for their work, within the given budget.

With the goal to modernise its information infrastructure by replacing hundreds of old and out-dated computer systems with a single modern Defence Information Infrastructure (DII), the MOD hired the ATLAS Consortium. Under the four year deal, the consortium – consisting of CGI, Fujitsu and Airbus, led by HP – will deliver cloud-based workplace and mobility services for 200,000 IT users, allowing them to have access to information and documents anywhere and anytime. “By September 2016, our users will experience information capabilities that are tailored to their mission, location and role, and that can be accessed at the right time, through a choice of devices, over a cost-effective, modern and adaptable infrastructure,” explains Mike Stone, Chief Digital and Information Officer of the MoD.

Mega IT project at UK Ministry of Defence

DII programme
As part of the DII programme, ATLAS will provide the necessary hardware and software, as well as the supporting infrastructure, which includes a network of data centres, individual site designs and migration from legacy systems. “Forward thinking organisations like the MoD understand that the workplace is everywhere. The solution HP and its partners developed for the UK MoD will increase workplace productivity by enabling high-quality connectivity for users, in any place, on any device,” says Howard Hughes, Senior Vice President Enterprise Services EMEA at HP.

HP, CGI, FUJITSU, AIRBUS

ATLAS will provide MOD with enterprise-wide information capabilities based on a combination of HP Enterprise Services for Microsoft Office 365 and HP Helion Managed Private Cloud. The new workplace infrastructure based on HP technology will allow users to subscribe, amend or remove services via a persona-based catalogue. In addition to standardised workplace management systems, smart self-help and secure mobility services, HP Unified Communications Services based on Microsoft Skype for Business will allow for video-conferencing, immediate online meetings and instant messaging available on all MoD devices. 

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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.